Sound — 7
Light This City's debut album is a mix of melodic death metal and metalcore, mostly towards the melodeth side. The band was heavily influenced by bands such as At The Gates, and the album features a cover of their classic song "Cold." Musically, the album is no way near the 3 following albums, but it's still a good, solid album. "The Hero Cycle" is the only album to feature guitarist Steven Shirley.
I feel that the riffing is a bit too similar on many songs and some guitar solos would have been nice too. The drumming is good but not exceptional. Four songs stand out: "Apostate," "Picture: Start," "Give Up" and "Laid to Rest." These are the songs I would include on a best of. The production is great for being an independent release, the band signed with Prostetic Records in 2004.
Lyrics — 8
Vocalist Laura Nichol's growling is not as good as on the later albums, but she does a solid job. The song "Weight of Glory" features clean vocals by Phil Benson on the chorus. All the bands lyrics are written by Laura Nichol, who is a great lyric writer. The subject matters range from misery and depression to anger and personal struggle. However, the music might not be dark enough to completely fit with the lyrics, but it's not something that bothers me.
Overall Impression — 7
01. "Apostate": The album starts with a short intro, consisting of static noise. The song then hits into a fast melodic riff with a growl and fast drums on top, the verse riff is a bit more metalcore sounding. The drums continue in pretty much the same pace throughout the song. There is a short buildup after the second chorus, that heads into a really awesome riff. This song really sums up the sound of the album.
02. "Picture Start": Attached to the end of Apostate, this is a fast paced, 2:30 minute song. Has a really nice lead over the first riff, which is the closest you get to a solo on this album.
03. "Give Up": This song gets better the more it progresses, and the last 30 sec. Is one the best parts on the album.
04. "Parisian Sun": A bit of a filler, just 2 minutes long and not good enough for being such a short song. The most forgettable track on the album.
05. "Cold" (At The Gates cover): Great cover off of the classic album "Slaughter of the Soul." The guitar solo is played by Jeff Allen. I noted that Laura changed the lyric-line "22 years of pain" to "17 years of pain."
06. "Laid to Rest": This song has the best riffs on the album, and I really like the lyrics and drumming to. Possibly the best song on the album.
07. "Sierra": Definitely the most melodic song on the album, ranks somewhere in the middle.
08. "No Solace in Sleep": The first minute is instrumental, the song then stops and it sounds like another song starts, and that song is pretty solid.
09. "The Weight of Glory": Another filler song. The chorus is a typical metalcore one. Personally, I have nothing against metalcore as long as the lyrics are good, but this chorus is pretty boring. I like the first section of the bride, but this is still not more than just a good song.
10. "Next to Godliness": This one is more towards the metalcore side, great riffs that sound a bit different from the rest. The last minute of the song is fantastic and rounds up the album well.
My overall impression of this album is that it lacks a lot of what makes the other albums great, especially the brutal riffs and Ben Murray's aggressive drumming. The vocals are the biggest weakness of this album, but just like everything else about this band, it got better and better with each album.